5 days on The Daring Way™
Posted on July 26, 2014 by The Quest
Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady, Co-Founders of The Quest, recently went to San Antonio to take part in The Daring Way™ certification training. In this conflab, they reflect on their insights since the journey.
Ade: Too many to roll off in a single conversation, and many are still percolating.
One of the main things that immediately dawned on me whilst there is that there are many practitioners out there who are also keen to work with their clients on issues such as Shame, Courage and Vulnerability. In our journey with The Quest, it has often been hard to find other practitioners, in the UK, doing this work.
From a practitioner’s perspective, The Daring Way™ program was a good way to integrate the work we have been doing with gay men. The essence of the program was – Show Up™, Be Seen™, Live Brave™ – this pretty much captures what we have been doing with gay men over the past 3 years; looking at the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours that can often get in the way.
Darren: Yes I agree. It feels like we are now participants in a larger community of practitioners. Being at the event also confirmed for me that this is pioneering work – it’s at the edge – and as such we are pioneers. Working with very experienced therapists with backgrounds in so many different areas helped me to see the work we do with gay men in a wider context. The context of shame is often very different depending on background, but the feelings and behaviours related to it are universal, regardless of sexual orientation.
Ade: There was indeed ‘common humanity’ in the sharings and emotions being stirred during the program. We all bring different lenses to our human experience and in the work we do, we guide the men to explore their lives using the lens of their sexual orientation.
As well as being with other pioneers, last week also provided some new tools to help with our exploration of shame.
One of the other things that struck me was something Brené said on the first day, and that was around the difference between ‘telling our story’ and ‘owning our story’. That struck a cord, because in our work, we get the guys to do a lot of storytelling, and its often a challenge to get to that place of “owning the story”.
Darren: Yes, that distinction between ‘telling’ and ‘owning’ is very powerful. Firstly, for many of us we never really got to even express our story completely – that’s the secrecy and silence component that comes along with Shame. There are so many experiences we buried from an early age that sometimes even we have forgotten them! So in our workshops it is often a case of reconnecting with the untold story. Sharing it in a benevolent group is critical as that becomes the antidote to shame – the transforming element- where we dissolve the shaming hold the stories have on us. It can take a while to go from telling to owning though and I think a lot of that depends on the place and people we share the stories with. Sometimes I have created a story that is at odds with my experience because I do not want to ‘dishonor’ my family… But that means I create a false story that does not reflect some of the pain I felt when I was young, isolated and unsupported as a gay child.
Ade: I have found in my own journey that the ongoing retelling of a story has helped me put together the fragmented pieces, so that I then get to embrace (own) every aspect of the past experience. Yes, as part of the ‘telling’ and ‘owning’ process, many of us are conscious that we do not want to betray our past and this is where holding the paradox of life experiences comes in – to be able to acknowledge the pain and the joy at the same time. So, we can still honour our family, whist grieving for what we had and did not have.
Another big part that stayed with me was around ‘clarifying our values’. I have found personally and with many clients that often when we move towards that thing which we really desire, we leave our values at the door – out of fear of vulnerability.
Darren: Yes, I loved the values element of the program. I chose ‘Joy’ and ‘Dignity’ as two of mine. I was struck by the word Dignity as it very high level and yet so much of my behaviours have been far from that! That’s the gap you are talking about! I am learning to bring ‘Dignity’ into my life and the choices I make.
Something that surprised me in the program was the importance of Creativity. Laughter, song and dance as they put it. That is something that we have not specifically focused on in our Quest workshop. I am curious to consider how that can be incorporated more as we continue to evolve.
What came through for me around Creativity is that it is the space where we get to practice our authenticity – it is a space that invites the absence of ‘masks’.
Ade: I took part in the Brené/Oprah e-course, so was prepared for that. In fact the day before the program, I bought myself some lovely colouring pens. Since doing the e-course, I seem to be more in contact with the younger me who enjoyed stuff like that – during that phase of my life, it was not about comparing or not feeling good enough, it was simply about having fun!
The bit of the program that you mention is actually two components. There is “Letting go of comparison and cultivating creativity” and “Letting go of being ‘cool and ‘always in control’ and cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance”. I think on the creativity aspect, we do have elements of that in our current programs, from life maps, letter writing, and storytelling. And on the other one, we do have the music part in The Mastery. However, there is plenty of room to hardwire Laughter, Song and Dance into the work, so that it becomes part of it, as opposed to an add on.
The key personal learning for me is around “letting go”, which allows me to embrace “Self-Expression”, which was one of my values, that I often leave at the door, in favour of “being cool and in control”.
Darren: Yes – letting go – that’s a big one for me too!
Another insight that I didn’t expect from attending the training was that we (The Quest) are world class! I thought I would be in a room with people who were far more experienced and skilled that I was, but I realised that the expertise, approach and love we bring to our work is up there with the best. That was so affirming for me. It helped me step further into my value of Dignity and it encourages me to consider participating in a larger arena. I am confident that we are bringing high quality and ground breaking work to the gay men we are working with and I think as a consequence of going to Texas I am able to ‘own’ that.
Ade: It is a very exciting time for The Quest and I am looking forward to us leading our first “The Daring Way™ for Gay Men” workshop later this year. It is a perfect partner to our current The Quest Workshop, with this new program exploring themes around The Arena, Scarcity Culture, Wholehearted Living, Vulnerability Myths and much more….
Darren: Yes, together with the Research based content of The Daring Way™ we create a potent combination. That has always struck me – how well The Quest and the work of Brené Brown dovetails so perfectly. I think this relationship is rocket fuel to our rocket! I think that offering both The Quest Workshop and The Daring Way™ will significantly improve our impact in the world. I am looking forward to developing from within, this wider community of Authenticity Warriors!
ABOUT THE DARING WAY™
The Daring Way™ is a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. The method was designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. It can be facilitated in clinical, educational, and professional settings.
During the process we explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. We examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back and we identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.
Further information is available at www.thedaringway.com.